How Can Moral Character Be Developed: Personal Values Impact

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About this sample


Words: 1636 |

Pages: 4|

9 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Words: 1636|Pages: 4|9 min read

Published: Aug 31, 2023

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Measuring Moral Integrity
  3. Different Levels of Moral Character
  4. Following Ethical Rules
  5. Nature of People with Developed Moral Character
  6. High Moral Character of Public Officials
  7. References


A large body of literature stresses the influence that personal value systems have on behaviour. Not only do personal value systems influence an individual's perception of what is right or wrong, but they also influence the choices that an individual makes among courses of action (England, 1975; Jurkiewicz and Thompson, 1999; Mosher, 1982). For these reasons, much research has explored the relationship between the personal value systems of public officials and a number of variables of interest, such as personal attributes, work experience, professional characteristics, community relationships, work values, and ethical climates. The possibility that organizational structure may play determining roles in forming and developing public officials' attitudes toward ethical values is a significant aspect to consider, especially when pondering how can moral character be developed. This is ironic, given that organizational arrangements have frequently been prescribed as desirable for eliciting ethical administrative behavior.

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This study rests on the premise that if public officials are prescribed as ideal for eliciting high moral integrity. The hypothesis is that the more ideal the public official, the higher level of moral integrity the public officials has. In the following discussion (1) briefly address how Moral integrity can be measured, (2) discuss Moral Integrity has different levels, (3) describe how public officials follow ethical rules, (4) talk about how People with high moral integrity consistently adheres to ethical principles and (4) consider Ideal Public Official should have high Moral Integrity.

Measuring Moral Integrity

Moral integrity is consistency of the desire to make intention and action to be in accord with moral principles. According to Schlenker (2008) integrity can be measured through the strength of a person’s assertion of being morally principled regardless of costs, temptations, and preferences of other people in regards of principled ideology. Principled ideologies ​include ideas that moral principles act as a guide and should be followed despite of personal consequences and justification. Schlenker proposed that the strength of the connection of moral principles and behavior can be determined through commitment to a principled ideology. With the use of integrity scale individual differences in principled commitment can be evaluated and identified in different levels.

There are already existing efforts of measuring Moral integrity in different workplace. In the study of Nunthawong (2017), a Thai Moral Integrity Scale was developed and administered to 502 professional nurses in Chulalongkorn University, which consists of 27 items with fiveLikert scale. With the use of exploratory factor analysis it was indicated that there were four dimensions that can describe the moral integrity in professional nurses which are 1) follow Code of Professional Conduct 2) convey actions in accord with Code of Professional Conduct 3) maintain to act on Code of Professional Conduct and 4) determination to act on Code of Professional Conduct even in difficult times. The construct validity was assessed with the use of confirmatory factor analysis and the scale has a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of 0.92.

In another study of ​Appiadjei et al. (2017) they made a Moral Integrity Scale that can validate workplace integrity and can be applied across different business industries in Ghana. Appiadjei and his colleagues have realized that definition of integrity in different business industry varies from each other, which means there is a lack of unanimity of integrity definition. With this main concern, they made a moral integrity scale that can contribute to the debate on what are the main components of integrity in a workplace. The scale consists of 30 questions with a Likert scale of seven. The total scale has a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of 0.843.

Different Levels of Moral Character

Moral integrity is composed of a high and a low level. Low integrity is defined by expedient ideology. ​Expedient ideologies ​consist of ideas that moral principles can be flexible and should be taken advantage of the profitable opportunities (Schlenker et al. 2009). According to Morgan (1989), leaders with a low integrity tend to be self-serving and focused on their personal benefits. In contrast, high integrity is defined by a principled ideology and that that integrity is an inherently valuable component of one’s identity (Miller & Schlenker, 2011). According to Schlenker (2008), when people describe themselves as steadfastly adhering to principles and endorse principled conduct, they are asserting high integrity. These people are making claims, to themselves and to others, that describe important features of who they are and what they believe. According to the Yemeni Civil Service Act No. 19 (1991), in Yemen, to uphold integrity, “public servants must neither solicit nor accept anything from their fellow citizens to perform their duties, thus creating a climate of confidence in themselves and in the public service as a whole” (Armstrong, 2005).

Following Ethical Rules

Government plays a significant role in creating feelings of mutual obligation and respect in society. People must have confidence that it will protect the public interest, since representative democracy rests on officials and the trust they engender. Career civil servants, accordingly, continually face such questions as 'What constitutes proper behaviour in exercising the public trust?' An understanding of ethics, the way values are practiced is therefore pivotal in democracy.

Ethical matters clearly “come with the territory” in the workaday life of public agencies. According to Bowsman (1988), a properly designed codes of conduct can have a crucial role in fostering integrity in agencies. Many think that professional organizations can nurture such activities by taking part in an advocacy, consultative and or evaluative manner by supporting agency leadership, developing training programs and ensuring fair procedures they can help make codes of ethics living documents.

Nature of People with Developed Moral Character

People who act with integrity strongly adhere to a code of ethics, implying incorruptibility and trustworthiness. Acting as a professional of integrity, one must continuously strive to be the best person they can be in all interactions with others. It has been suggested by reviewed evidence that people who are highly committed to moral causes are more likely to describe themselves in moral terms, to regard moral values with more importance to their sense of self, a higher alignment between themselves and goals, and engaging in moral behavior (Schlenker, 2008). According to Cheshire Calhoun, “the person of integrity not only holds worthy of her own best judgement about what is worth doing, but the person of integrity also recognizes the worthiness of standing for her best judgement before others in the community” (Graham, 2001).

As mentioned previously, people are considered to assert high integrity when they endorse the principled conduct as well as when they describe themselves as constantly adhering to principles. The concept of integrity has played a key role in moral philosophy throughout history and is promoted in all societies due to the importance to social relations (Schlenker et al., 2009). In order for a group to be able to function productively, members must be able to rely on others as reliable, honest, be the type of people they claim to be and follow group prescriptions for social well-being.

High Moral Character of Public Officials

According to Frederickson (1985), public officials must be both moral philosophers and moral activist. They must be fair, just and should not discriminate especially towards the deprived. Public officials should genuinely care about the people and be committed to the correct principles (Frederickson & Hart, 1985). Similar qualities of an ideal public official can be seen in the codes of ethics of different countries. Such as the Philippines’ Code of Ethics, the Canada’s Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and the United States’ Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch. Some of common principles they have listed are being honest and true to the people at all times, maintaining political neutrality such as providing​ service to everyone without unfair discrimination, loyally serving their country and performing their duties as well as being able to deliver their services to the public.

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On February 5, 2018, the Philippines’ Civil Service Commission (CSC) released the results of the 2017 Anti-Red Tape Act Report Card Survey (ARTA RCS) showing that out of the 583 offices that have been surveyed, 81.65% or 476 offices passed. The Anti-Red Tape Act aims to​ improve efficiency in the delivery in the government service to the public by preventing corruption and graft. With the results of the Anti-Red Tape Act Report Card Survey, this shows that most of the public officers passed which means that 81.65% are doing their tasks and duties responsibly and are able to deliver their service to the public.​ The information gathered aids in the hypothesis that an ideal public servant or government official should have a high moral integrity.


  1. Kim, H.-S. (2001). ​Organizational Structure and Ethics Attitudes of Public Officials: An Examination of State Agencies. Public Integrity, 3(1), 69–86.
  2. Foster, G. D. (1981). ​Law, Morality, and the Public Servant. Public Administration Review, 41(1), 29.
  3. Bowman, J. S. (1990). ​Ethics in Government: A National Survey of Public Administrators. Public Administration Review, 50(3), 345.
  4. Appiadjei, E. A., Ampong, G. O., Danso, S. A., & Koranchie, K. A. (2017). Development and Validation of Work Place Integrity Scale; Evidence from Ghana. ​Development​, ​9​(30)
  5. Armstrong, E. (2005). Integrity, transparency and accountability in public administration: recent trends, regional and international developments and emerging issues. ​Economic & Social Affairs,
  6. Frederickson, H. G., & Hart, D. K. (1985). The public service and the patriotism of benevolence. Public Administration Review​, 548, 551
  7. Jiang, J.Y., Law, K.S., & Sun, J. J. M. (2014). Leader-member relationship and burnout: the moderating role of leader integrity. ​Management and Organization Review​, 223–247
  8. Miller, M.L., & Schlenker B.R. (2011). Integrity and Identity: Moral Identity Differences and Preferred Interpersonal Reactions. ​European Journal of Personality,
  9. Nunthawong, J. (2017). ​A DEVELOPMENT OF THAI MORAL INTEGRITY SCALE FOR PROFESSIONAL NURSES​(Doctoral dissertation, Chulalongkorn University).
  10. Schlenker, B.R. (2008). Integrity and Character: Implications of Principled and Expedient Ethical Ideologies.​ Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 27, No. 10, 2008,​ 1078-1125
  11. Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Retrieved from
  12. Republic of the Philippines Civil Service Commission 2018, Retrieved from,-sees-improvement-in-arta%E2%80%99s-10-year-implementation.html
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How Can Moral Character Be Developed: Personal Values Impact. (2023, August 31). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
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